AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Review

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With the introduction of its Ryzen 3000 series processors, AMD has achieved something that was virtually unimaginable just a few short years ago: it has surpassed Intel in terms of manufacturing processes thanks to its new 7nm processors, which have smaller and more densely packed transistors than Intel’s 14nm rivals. As you can see in our CPU Benchmark Hierarchy, the benefits of increased density include higher performance, better power efficiency, more cores, and more cache packed into a smaller area than the first-gen Ryzen models. This makes third-gen Ryzen a formidable competitor for Intel both on the desktop and in the data center.

When AMD launched the ground-breaking chiplet-based Zen microarchitecture a few years ago, it prepared the path for the “Matisse” Ryzen 3000 series. At the time, AMD outlined a roadmap that includes regular tick-tock updates, new iterations of the scalable microarchitecture, and other developments. The business is moving forward with its Zen 2 architecture, which AMD claims offers up to 15% more instructions per cycle, following its sophomore effort with the second-gen Ryzen processors, which included a faster process paired with the same first-gen Zen design (IPC). The Ryzen 3000 processors offer a quantum leap in performance thanks to the benefits of the 7nm technology, more cores, and AMD’s pioneering use of the PCIe 4.0 interface on desktop platforms.

The Ryzen 9 3900X we have in the lab today pushes core counts up from eight cores to 12 cores and 24 threads, upending the status quo and bringing mainstream platforms into what was formerly the domain of the expensive high end desktop.The first chips from AMD to use TSMC’s 7nm manufacturing cover every aspect of the common desktop stack. AMD also recently announced the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X, which has dominated our list of the top CPUs, if you’re searching for something even more powerful.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Specifications

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 2

The focus of AMD’s effort is the “Zen 2” microarchitecture, which intends to compete with or outperform Intel’s most current “Coffee Lake” microarchitecture in terms of IPC. For the first time in more than 15 years, AMD would defeat Intel in IPC. When it came to IPC, Intel and AMD were tied, but AMD had more CPU cores. For the first time in ten years, Intel increased the number of cores in its mainstream desktop processors in response to earlier Ryzen processor versions. Intel attained parity in terms of core count with the 9th generation Core. AMD’s reaction involves expanding core counts, at least at the high end, in addition to matching the 9th generation Core at IPC and regaining AMD’s competitiveness. Intel’s 8-core LGA1151 processor now goes by the coveted Core i9 brand extension. The new Ryzen 9 series was developed by AMD to compete with the Core i9 LGA1151 in terms of price and IPC while outperforming it in terms of core counts. The Ryzen 9 3900X and 3950X are consequently available.

The Ryzen 9 3900X has 12 cores and 24 threads, which is a 50% boost in core counts over the Core i9-9900K right away. The Ryzen 9 3950X, a 16-core/32-thread monster with a $750 price tag and mainstream desktop credentials, will be added to the product lineup this autumn. The transition to 7 nm and AMD’s usage of the multi-chip module (MCM) method to construct these CPUs, which are both comparable to and different from the Ryzen Threadripper, may be contributing factors to the high core counts. The CPU cores are distributed across two different dies, which is a similarity between them. They are different from one another because the I/O controller is a different type of die.

A sizable paperboard box with a carbon-fiber texture on some of its faces is how the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X is packaged for shipping. This packaging has a clam-shell shape and appears more upscale than the one the Ryzen 7 comes in. The front of the device is clearly marked to indicate that it is a third generation Ryzen CPU with PCI-Express gen 4.0 capability. “Zen 2” is also mentioned on the back. The box also sports the “VR ready” and NVMe logos.

This processor from AMD comes with a Wraith Prism RGB cooling system that can handle thermal loads of up to 140 W.

The cooler comes with two additional cables in addition to the 4-pin PWM for its fan: a USB cable that connects to one of your motherboard’s USB 2.0/1.1 headers and an addressable 3-pin RGB cable for lighting control. Both cables can be used. The 4-pin PWM connector is all that is required to get the fan to turn.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3

The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X processor has a 1,331-pin micro-PGA in the bottom and a big IHS at the top, similar to other traditional AMD processors. Three nations—the USA, China, and Taiwan—have insignia indicating their national origin. Taiwan’s TSMC is where the 7 nm “Zen 2” CPU chiplets are produced. The US company GlobalFoundries manufactures the 12 nm I/O controller die. At a plant in China, the two dies are put into the MCM.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Specs

PlatformBoxed Processor
# of CPU Cores12
Base Clock3.8 GHz
L3 Cache64MB
Unlocked for OverclockingYes
Thermal Solution (MPK)Wraith PRISM
*OS SupportWindows 11 – 64-Bit EditionWindows 10 – 64-Bit EditionRHEL x86 64-BitUbuntu x86 64-Bit
Product FamilyAMD Ryzen™ Processors
# of Threads24
L1 Cache768KB
Default TDP105W
CPU SocketAM4
Max. Operating Temperature (Tjmax)95°C
Product LineAMD Ryzen™ 9 Desktop Processors
Max. Boost ClockUp to 4.6GHz
L2 Cache6MB
Processor Technology for CPU CoresTSMC 7nm FinFET
Thermal Solution (PIB)Wraith Prism with RGB LED
Launch Date07/07/2019

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Performance & Tests

In the past, we had to decide between Ryzen’s dramatically increased core counts and Intel’s sheer, single-core power. Up until this point, I believed the eight-core Intel Core i9-9900K to be the best compromise. Who knew adding four additional cores could make things so much better?

All of our tests were run on identical hardware, which included 16GB of RAM, a fast NVMe M.2 SSD, and the enormous RTX 2080 Ti graphics card. Of course, the motherboards and processors were unique.

Now for the outcomes.

The AMD Ryzen 3900X superior multi-core performance in tests like Geekbench 4 and Cinebench R20 impressed me less than the 9900K’s. Four additional cores will put you much ahead in this situation. The Ryzen 9 3900X’s 50% increase in core count over the Core i9-9900K results in a nearly 50% boost in multi-core performance, though you might not notice it as much as when going from four to eight cores.

I used Handbrake to encode some H.265 media in order to explore how this would perform outside of benchmarks. As a result, 4K encoding speeds were 23% faster than those of Intel. Although it’s not the 50% improvement we observed in the benchmarks, that is a significant improvement for a real-world application. Think about encoding a 4K HDR film. On the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, the file would encode in 46 minutes as opposed to an hour on the Intel Core i9-9900K.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 4

Gains from many cores were anticipated. Performance improves with more cores. Performance per core has always been an issue for AMD. Although it falls short of keeping up with the Core i9-9900K, the Ryzen 3900X is perilously near. In Cinebench and Geekbench, it is within 4% and 10%, respectively.

There is no other area where AMD has more clearly closed the gap on the 9900K than in game performance.

Conclusion on AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 

The 7 nm manufacturing technique is likely to credit for the good power efficiency of the Zen 2—definitely an improvement over prior generations. Multi-threaded energy utilization, which analyzes how much overall energy is consumed to execute a certain activity and takes into account both power draw and processing time, drew our attention. The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X promises to be the most energy-efficient processor we’ve ever tested in this category. Despite the somewhat high temperatures (79°C), performance must come from someplace. The Intel Core i9-9900K is priced similarly to the Ryzen 9 3900X, which is priced at $500 (on release). Unlike the Intel processor, AMD’s processor comes with a heatsink, allowing you to set up your new system right away. This heatsink is not a low-cost, subpar heatsink; rather, it is a respectable cooler. Best wishes, AMD!

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AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
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